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Is THIS what's causing my depression? Internet and fragmented experience

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posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 07:02 AM
Posting here because I wanna hear from folks who are into spiritual practices like meditation etc. who may feel exactly what I'm talking about on a deeper level than a simply health/science perspective.

Because internet addiction is recognized by the American Psychological Association, and because enough studies have been done on this topic, I don't want to focus so much on whether the internet/depression correlation is a real thing or not. It DEFINITELY is. However, I want to focus on an idea that just occurred to me after contemplating my own mental clarity and depression problems.

Perhaps it's not the internet itself that is dangerous, but the way we experience and interact with it. For the last 7-8 years, I've felt that my mental clarity has shut off, and I realized that this is around the time that my internet usage went into overdrive. Facebook just rolled out the News Feed-- before that point you had to search your friend to look at their profile and see what they were up to. Facebook also just rolled out their chat service a year or two later... this is also around the time Twitter just came out. This is the time that the internet and tech REALLY started dominating things.

I think what's led to my depression is what I'm considering "fragmented experience." It's the idea that the environments we interact with online are essentially small chunks of modeled experiences, packaged and compressed in a way so we can engage with many at once. Social media is the biggest culprit of this-- For some reason or another, the standard design on so many social sites now is to display an endless stream of information from your networks. In one minute, you can scroll past a cat fail video, a photo album from the Gaza strip, a high school friend's delicious gourmet dinner photo, some random celebrity who just committed suicide (the news of which you later discover is a hoax), a blog piece on misogyny in India, on and on. An endless stream of completely unrelated content that you briefly consume, until the addictive power of "what comes next?" plus the psychological urge to "complete" reading your feed pushes you to scroll further down. As a result, we never truly engage in ANYTHING.

I don't mean to keep attacking Facebook and social media-- I feel like the internet and computers in general have basically headed this way. Look at browsers for instance-- right now I have about 15 tabs open on my browser. Meanwhile, everything is independently competing for your attention, not out of your needs necessarily, but whatever will get you to click the button and get their ad revenue up.

The deeper part of this, is that I feel like we are trying to find God through the consumption of as many experiences as possible, instead of finding God in a smaller number of experiences and interactions in the real world. I mean that figuratively-- not trying to get into a God debate...In real life, there's a sense of continuous feeling that ebbs and flows inside of us. One can feel it in a long conversation with a friend, or even by themselves. In digital land, the fragmented nature causes that feeling to spike and plummet, and generally get confused.

I think THIS is what causes my depression: the distorted nature of the internet environment that's ultimately exhausted my natural sense of feeling. The hunch/gut feeling is completely absent-- I cannot think AND feel anymore!! If this makes no sense to you, I bet you either A. never use tabs on your browser, B. don't (or barely ever) use social media or the internet in general extensively, or C. are over 40 years old and live enough of your life BEFORE the internet to properly develop a solid feeling navigation system. For those who totally understand where I am coming from, any ideas on how to get back in touch with feeling? Is abandoning the internet for a while enough?

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 07:12 AM
a reply to: solarjetman

Do you have a life beyond looking at a computer screen ? I'm just asking because it was not explicitly noted in your post.

Kind Regards

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 07:25 AM
I don't have any good advice other than stepping away from the Internet. Intentionally limit your time to X minutes per day and hold yourself to it.

I can absolutely relate to what you are saying and I appreciate that you took the time to write this. Very well written. It makes a lot of sense to me. (Note: I have literally 23 tabs open right now. Yeah... I can definitely relate to the fragmented interactions I have with the world via the Internet. And I'm not even active on social media!)

Thanks ... and hang in there. Recognizing a significant source of a problem is a HUGE step. It can get better.
edit on 17-7-2014 by VegHead because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 07:26 AM
I won't go into medical details, even though I could, but in the end you are right anyway. I have always though that the human brain is not equipped to deal with too much information at once.
In the past we only knew as far as our village and any outside news would have been quite dramatic to us, we would have thought about these things, discussed it with friends and family and eventually come to some sort of closure.

Now we know about things that do not even enter our 'living reality'. What I mean by that is that whilst [for example] the middle east exists, if you have never been there and never go there, it doesn't actually exist in your own immediate reality. Yet you are forced to watch atrocities via the news. Every day we are bombarded by the internet with different news that have no actual meaning to us [on a natural level].

We are really not supposed to know that much, our brains can't handle that much misery without actual closure; and I agree with you OP that this could easily lead to depression.
I suffer from anxiety and when it is really bad, anything can worry me, to the extent that I can't take any bad news whatsoever, none. It is almost as if my shield has worn so thin that anything can penetrate it and send me off into anxiety-land.
In olden days, I would have been able to have time to replenish my shield, have people tell me soothing things and maybe heard that the bad news had a good outcome.
Nowadays there is no such time, a constant stream of horrible stuff. Even when I try to avoid it and go to 'safe' places I still come across things that I really didn't want to know [animal abuse, under the guise of spreading awareness for example or adverts for charities].

My laptop was broken for a day last week and it was almost refreshing. I started drawing and thinking again, I was a completely different person. Alas, the internet is here and I love it as a source of things I can learn and hence can't stay away.

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 07:35 AM
a reply to: solarjetman

I think that is a very astute perception.
Endings of all sorts are extremely important to help make sense of an experience, which is precisely what is lacking in 3 minute news-bites.
It's really important to process an event and many professions debrief with each other afterwards to try and understand better what happened, how they felt, and to put the issue to bed, as it were.
I remember my sister served on jury duty and she was unsettled by the fact that no one came in at the end and said 'ah, the butler did it!'. She laughed about it, but still - she never did find out what happened. Was the guy guilty? Did she do the right thing, make the right choice? She'll never know.

To better answer your question, try looking for experiences that have explicit beginnings, middles and endings -to counterbalance the lack of this elsewhere in your life. I know, I know, I'm a boring old git but gardening is an excellent example. Painting or art/craft might be another.

Good luck with it, and I think you've really hit the nail on the head.

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 07:48 AM
Balance is the key. Spend time with friends and family, get out into nature, etc. Are you on anything for depression? Sometimes those meds can make you feel disconnected.

For me, my mind has always been like a sponge and I soak up everything. The internet has actually helped my depression. I have made genuine friends and love connecting with people. I love learning new things and discussing thoughts and ideas with others.

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 07:56 AM
You are living here and now for a reason. THis is the time of the internet, of cellphones and surveillance, of the Dark Asshats, those control freaks, but it is also the time of the Dark Sheep, the personality type who needs the control system to function, who must be told what to do and what to think, who falsely believe he is free because he can talk # on the internet. You are here because your soul wanted you here to do this. Everything is perfect, and your angst is a part of it. The tension you feel is your soul asking you to take a break, to look inward, and to allow that something "more" might be possible.

You are not broken.

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 08:06 AM
I'd venture to guess your headaches/ mental stability has more to do with your wifi antenna working 24/7 near you, not to mention your smartphone

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 08:06 AM
I think if you keep looking for why you are depressed you will never be happy. Try looking for reasons to be happy.

I do not understand the chronic depression that some people suffer from. I always know why Im depressed. my dog just died or I lost my job, my wife is cheating, or the damn chiefs lost.

Get busy living or .. well you know

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 08:06 AM
It's all about not overdoing it.

Only advice I can think of is to limit your time on the internet, so you can focus on other stuff. Maybe go on the internet for about an hour every day, then spend the rest of the day with family or friends.

If you think the internet is the cause of your problem, step away from it little by little.

Hope you get well,

posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 10:28 AM
Very well written synopsis of a global enigma, OP.

As an over 60 year old, you hit a nerve with that third idea... so I thought I'd try to explain what a pre-computer, pre-internet, pre-electronic toy/video game world was like. Hell, I even vaguely remember pre-teevee...

No distractions, but a lot of enforced mental boredom that did mean you could spend more time just thinking; you *thought* while you were outside playing with your siblings (does anyone play in sandboxes anymore? Odd how much time that took up), or kicking a ball around, or taking your bike as far as you were allowed, or reading, reading, reading anything there was in the house to absorb, even cereal boxes and match covers if that's all that was available. Board games if you could find someone to play with, Monopoly games that lasted two days and invariably ended with a fight, (whoever gets Boardwalk and Park Place always for real life). A lot of time was spent by being sick for some reason, one cold after another, chicken pox or having tonsils out. There was four or five kids in every family and we'd all spread it amongst ourselves. No one ever went to daycare, and when Kennedy was shot, they closed the schools early and sent everyone to walk home, knowing that an adult would be there (?!)

When at age 4 the teevee arrived, what a revelation! My parents never listened to the radio for some reason, so this was the first big window on a larger world. Only a few hours a day at first, and one, then two and rapidly a third channel. Nightly news that was utterly trusted, first local and then the more exciting national news with that stirring anthem-like musical beginning. Those newscasters were gods. (Did you know before that, most people got their news from pouring over the local newspaper, radio broadcasts and from 'newsreels' when they went to the movies? And everything was always announced with that 'voice of god' urgency.)

Then things sped up; school took up a lot of time, summer and Christmas was what you looked forward to, the march of the recurring holidays. I remember spending months planning my Halloween costume, only to have it be covered by a coat because of cold weather; after a while I lost interest in bothering... :-/ School meant hours of boredom, waiting to get home to read some more, and the best part of school was often the walk to and from, a half mile both ways, no matter the weather; I felt alive then and it was fun watching the seasons change and picking up horse chestnuts from the huge tree I passed every day.

Every autumn started to be designed not by what grade I was going into so much as 'what new shows' were being offered, and talking about them at school. Star Trek was a game and mind changer, it was futuristic! It almost felt like only 10 years later, that'd be the world we were living in. Compared to the other 'old people' shows on at the same time, it was truly revolutionary, the Ed Sullivan variety shows and sit-coms, just a few years after Westerns had died out.

The big difference I notice between then and now? More information, at your fingertips (your choice whether you wallow in Kardasian type nonsense or read cutting edge science information, research or waste time, whatever your interests, they're delivered to you in spades). The world is undeniably global now, fully electronically connected like the best of beehives. But a lot of us are drones.

Is it causing your depression, or are you just normally rather low key? Try going cold turkey, go camping for two solid weeks...You'll be alternatively bored out of your gourd, and feel more inner quietude. if you need more 'real' interaction with people, try traveling in a foreign place where every step you take will be forced instant adaptation to 'different'.

Maybe, for all your instant cerebral gratification, you're actually bored with it.
edit on 5628107amThursdayf28Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:28:56 -0500America/Chicago by signalfire because: (no reason given)

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